Family wants BART officer who shot and killed their brother to face charges

The family of a man fatally shot by a BART police officer is calling for the officer to be charged and for authorities to release the officer’s body camera video of the shooting.

Civil rights attorney John Burris is representing the family of 28-year-old Shaleem Tindle. Burris said he and Tindle’s family saw the body cam footage and it contradicts the police reports of what happened on the night of Jan. 3, 2018.

At the time Tindle was in a scuffle with another man across the street from the West Oakland BART station. A BART officer responded to reports of shots fired. One of the men was found with a gunshot wound to his leg. 

Police said Tindle was armed when he was shot by the officer and a gun was found at the scene. But Burris said the officer’s body cam video shows that Tindle and the other man were breaking apart their fight and Tindle had his back to the officer when he was shot.

“The officer starts shooting and Shaleem’s hands start coming up,” Burris said. “He falls back on the ground. There is nothing in his hands. You didn’t see him drop anything.”

Burris has filed a claim against the BART Police Department and Officer Joseph Mateu who opened fire.

“Using a weapon should be the last resort, yet it seems to be the first option,” Nalia Watkins, Tindle’s sister said.

KTVU spoke with BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas on Tuesday afternoon where he said an independent, criminal investigation is being led by the Oakland Police Department.

“Nothing will be done until that investigation takes its course,” Rojas said. “While we continue to get the facts, it’s really in the court of the Oakland Police Department and the DA’s office on what they decided to do.”

Rojas confirmed he has seen the footage, but declined to comment further due to the ongoing investigation.

A spokesman for BART released the following statement on behalf of BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas:

"As a police department and a transit agency we at BART understand that any loss of life is tragic.  That’s why we are committed to a full and independent investigation into what occurred when one of our officers responded to reports of multiple shots being fired and a fight between two men near the West Oakland BART Station.  What happened January 3, 2018 is the subject of both an Oakland Police Department investigation as well as an internal review by the BART Police Department.  The BART Police Department is fully cooperating with OPD.  Standard procedure calls for the results of the OPD investigation to be reviewed by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

It’s important to remember that any officer-involved shooting involving the BART Police Department is subject to additional reviews thanks to the reforms BART has implemented in recent years.  BART’s Independent Police Auditor responded to the scene of the incident and is monitoring the BART PD investigation. Further, the BART Police Citizen Review Board is part of the BART Citizen Oversight Model and is able to advise the BART Board, General Manager, and Police Chief.  The Citizen Review Board can also participate in recommending disciplinary action if it is deemed appropriate.

Once the multiple investigations into this incident are complete, BART is committed to releasing all relevant information related to what happened including video from the involved officer’s body-worn camera."